Taking the Call - Voicemail, Conference Calls and Dialing Out with Asterisk in my Home
This is the last post on planning to write my Asterisk config files, I swear I'll deliver some working examples next time. Today I want to describe how I planned out the Main Menu available to known users. By "known user" I'm talking about someone who I know personally for whom I've set up stuff on my Asterisk server. Each known user has an extension number that will connect to their own phone and they've got access to a few basic features on my server. Last time I covered how I expect to present a menu to outside callers and how an outside caller can log in so that Asterisk recognizes them as a known user. Today I want to get in to the basic features that a known user has access to once they log in. I wrote about a menu idea in my planning wiki that I now think is kind of complicated to explain and can't all be done in my first try. Here's a simplified version of that plan which only includes things that I think I can do with a reasonable amount of work on my Asterisk install (which isn't that far from a stock installation).
  • Recorded menu presents options: "To access voicemail press 7. To create a meeting press 8. To place an external call, press 9." This will be referred to as the 'Main Menu' or M.
  • Pressing 9 followed by a phone number places a call. In this case I'd use a timeout to detect the end of the phone number. This makes connecting take a little longer but improvements on this would introduce more complexity.
  • Main menu Option 8 - meetings...
  • Main menu Option 7 - Voicemail should work pretty much as standard voicemail on Asterisk.
In case you haven't noticed, the goal here is to keep it simple and get the basics working. I'll cover where I expect to get the information I need to put together these basic features (hint: voip-info.org and the Toronto Asterisk Users Group).

Dialing out

I covered how to do this briefly in my intro with a hack. In case you missed it, here's how I set up Asterisk to let me dial out. That works but it isn't complete. My plan now is to use basically the same idea but make that extension available to only known users.


Voicemail apparently changed recently and the voip-info wiki might be out-of-date. There is a working demo of voicemail in the sample configuration, so I'll be relying on that and comments in the voicemail.conf file primarily. I'll use the default settings for the most part but I want to make sure that I get email notification of waiting messages.


Asterisk allows a user to create a conference call that other users can dial in to. When someone calls my DID, a subsequent caller doesn't get a busy signal. Instead Asterisk gets both calls and can handle them independently. A conference call such as MeetMe connects multiple callers. Configuring MeetMe will require a timer. I don't have any special hardware for Asterisk, so I'll use the ztdummy module. I didnt build it when I built Asterisk, so I'm going to have to do that too. It should be simple. I checked to see if I had the requisite USB controller using ruby:/home/rob3 # lsusb -v | grep HCI And that came back with a couple lines. Okay, I think that's enough with the planning. I'll get it working and take notes as I do. Check back tomorrow and see how it goes.
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